So. My kid had head lice. Emphasis on the word *had*. Once we discovered the nasty little buggers, I made a beeline for the pharmacy and got this.
You're supposed to repeat the treatment after 10 days, so I went out today to get another kit. This time, I went for the generic, store-brand one. Mistake.
Both kits were three-step. A shampoo, a gel to help the lice comb get through the hair, and a spray that can be used on carpets and mattresses. I looked at the active ingredients, and they were the same and in the same amounts, so I figured "Hey. Might was well save a few bucks."
While the active ingredients in the two products were the same, the inactive ingredients differed enough to make it worth the few extra bucks. First of all, the smell. The store-brand shampoo smelled like I remembered as a kid: medicinal and strong. The RID shampoo smelled like... shampoo. Light and a little floral. If I had a boy, he might mind smelling pretty, but no problem for a girl. Second, the combing gel. It's a great idea. When you go to meticulously comb through every bit of your kid's hair with the finest-toothed comb ever, this gel helps prevent icky tangles. In the store-brand kit, not so much. Lots of ouches and pulling, and quite a bit of shed hair. And it smelled bad, too.
I can't say much towards the difference in effectiveness for one reason: the RID did the job the first time. It killed every single one of those buggers and their eggs and let me comb them out on day one. I checked her daily, and saw nothing. I re-did the treatment today with the store-brand kit, and still nothing. It may very well work just as well as the RID. There were just no bugs to kill this time.
While I cross my fingers and plead with heaven never to have to go through this again (and put tea tree oil in her shampoo)... if I do, I'm shelling out the few extra bucks for the good stuff.